Press Release: TACF Supports Ohio’s New Seedling Nursery

Published March 1, 2024

The American Chestnut Foundation Supports Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Resources Program and Ohio’s New Seedling Nursery

Asheville, NC, February 29, 2024

The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) celebrates the work of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) toward the successful reopening of the Buckeye Nursery in Zanesville, OH.  Early in February, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill to re-create the state’s only tree-seedling nursery, at which experts from TACF will assist in growing American chestnuts.

TACF is collaborating with ten different state nursery partners, including the Buckeye Nursery, to support and increase seedling production. These nurseries need supplies and equipment to ramp up production, not just of chestnut seedlings, but other trees as well.

To reinforce this need, representatives from TACF recently visited Capitol Hill to back H.R. 5381, legislation aimed at supporting the national Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Resources (RNGR) program. RNGR is designed to provide expert support to state, industrial, and private forest and conservation nurseries throughout the country.

“This Forest Service-developed program is essential,” says TACF’s Chief Conservation Officer Sara Fitzsimmons. “The need for tree seedlings is higher than it has ever been before, as we need to increase current seedling production by two to three times for use in replanting after wildfires, carbon sequestration, and creating infrastructure for the rescue and restoration of trees threatened by non-native pests and diseases.”

As essential improvements are made, a portion of the Buckeye Nursery in Zanesville, which closed in 2003, will reopen immediately. It is located on a Division of Forestry-owned property and will address regional shortages of suitable tree seedlings, assist with integral tree conservation projects, and invest in the future of Ohio’s forests.

“The nursery will be able to provide state projects and residents with seedlings that are grown from seed collected within the same ecoregion and better suited to planting sites. It will take several years before the nursery can run at full capacity,” says ODNR Forest Manager and OH-TACF Chapter President Stephen Rist. “Public and partner support for the project was overwhelming, and we are looking forward to growing tree species best suited for a multitude of purposes, including wildlife, water quality, forest resources, and aesthetics.”

“This is an amazing first step,” said Fitzsimmons, “and we intend to pursue opportunities like these and to be a leader in helping our nursery infrastructure grow to facilitate getting trees to people.”

Media Contact:
Jules Smith
Director of Communications
The American Chestnut Foundation
(828) 281-0047

American chestnut seedlings at a nursery